For 36 years, ten acres in Southwest Lubbock have been the home to jackrabbits and weeds. "The way that land stands now is an eyesore," said Steve Seavers, Kingsgate resident.
But for a moment, some residents were excited about the possibility the land would improve. A businessman, Terry Williams, wanted to build a two-three story data storage building on top of an old city landfill.
The ground considered is off of 78th Street & Quaker. It is uneven because of the 40 years of trash accumulated beneath the surface. Two concerns came up at the city council meeting: the compression of the trash and the soil and Methane gas.
The city remedied the methane gas with a flare system. It is a pump that helps release the gas into the atmosphere safely. But since it has been dry and there hasn't been a lot of rain, methane gas has not been a problem. However, an engineer says putting a concrete slab for a building could stir things back up.
"We have been against gas being blocked and coming up from the sides of the concrete and into the neighbors' homes," said Chris Bell, Kingsgate Neighborhood Association Vice President.
Thirteen-year Kingsgate resident Bonnie Aycock had that happen to her nine years ago. She now has an alarm in her home that detects methane gas. "Methane is odorless, colorless, it's highly flammable. It is lighter than air but it would accumulate in enclosed spaces," she said.
"Motion carries 6-0," said Mayor David Miller from the desk.
City council voted in favor of what the residents wanted. Only a handful spoke in favor of the development. Williams was surprised by the decision. "We had data going back three years that shows the wells with very little or no methane showing in them," he said.
Coincidentally, the city council voted for a $250,000 contract to fix the broken methane pipes. Councilman Gary Boren says the city should get that fixed before considering any development on that land.
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